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Yevele, Henry

Henry Yevele

c. 1320–1400

Master mason

From Master Mason to Architect.

The long and prolific career of Henry Yevele encompasses major works of both secular and religious architecture. In many ways, Yevele functioned like a modern architect, directing a workshop that was responsible for design, construction, and maintenance. First mentioned in London in 1353, he was soon appointed master mason to Edward ("the Black Prince"), prince of Wales and, thereafter, became Edward III's Deviser of Masonry and in charge of all works of the crown. Among his many works, either documented directly or attributed to him on the basis of form and style, are Prince Edward's chantry chapel in Canterbury Cathedral, the Neville screen (1372–1376) in the choir of Durham Cathedral (1376–1379), the nave of Canterbury Cathedral (1377–1403), the nave of Westminster Abbey (1387), and the remodeling of Westminster Hall carried out under Richard II between 1394 and 1399 in collaboration with the carpenter, Hugh Herland. These architectural works are executed in a refined Perpendicular style in which delicate grids of tracery organized the wall surfaces and spread onto the vaults in elaborate rib patterns. Yevele also designed the tomb of the Black Prince at Canterbury along with the tomb chests of Richard II and his wife Anne of Bohemia, and, probably, that of Edward III at Westminster Abbey. He also served as consultant to the projects of William of Wykeham, bishop of Winchester, such as New College, Oxford.


John Hooper Harvey, English Mediaeval Architects: A Biographical Dictionary down to 1550: Including Master Masons, Carpenters, Carvers, Building Contractors, and Others Responsible for Design (Gloucester: Sutton, 1987).

—, Henry Yvele, c. 1320–1400; The Life of an English Architect (London: Batsford, 1946).

Spiro Kostof, ed., The Architect: Chapters in the History of the Profession (New York: Oxford University Press, 1977).

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